The Daily Briefing

What’s coming up today and what you might have missed

24th January, 2020
The Daily Briefing
Leo Varadkar and Emer Currie, a Fine Gael councillor and general election candidate, attend the ukulele group with kids from Castleknock Community College. The Taoiseach launches his party’s manifesto today. Picture:

Two main parties to reveal election manifestos

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil launch their manifestos. The two main parties have already outlined several of their key policies. Leo Varadkar’s party has promised to build 60,000 social houses over the next five years, provide free GP care to under-18s and increase the maximum tax rebate for first-time buyers of new homes from €10,000 to €30,000. Micheál Martin, meanwhile, is promising an SSIA-style scheme that would give first-time home buyers €1 for every €3 they save up to €10,000, to cut capital gains tax from 33 per cent to 25 per cent and to freeze third-level fees. Both have promised tax cuts, as analysed by Michael Brennan.

US, EU and Britain to release manufacturing data

Manufacturing data is released in the the US, EU and Britain. US factory production unexpectedly increased by 0.2 per cent in December, a bright spot in an otherwise weak year for the sector. In Britain, the manufacturing sector continued to shrink. It was also in a slump in the euro zone, with IHS Markit’s gauge of factory activity weakening to 46.3, down from November’s 46.9. Figures below 50 indicate a contraction.

Angela Merkel talks climate in Davos Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

German chancellor defends young climate activists

Angela Merkel told an audience in Davos that meeting emissions-reduction goals could be a “matter of survival” for Europe and young activists pushing for change should be taken seriously. “Time is pressing, and we must be careful as the older members of society that we treat the impatience of youth in a positive and constructive way,” the German chancellor said. She was speaking after Steven Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary, questioned whether Greta Thunberg was qualified to talk about economic issues linked to climate change and told 17-year-old Swedish activist to study the subject in college.

CPL reports 5% increase in half-year revenues

Revenues at CPL, Ireland’s largest recruitment agency, rose 5 per cent to €291.4 million in the second half of last year. The company said gross profit had risen 10 per cent to €51.1 million. It added that it had benefited from “favourable economic conditions”, in particular the tech and British healthcare sectors. Anne Heraty, the chief executive, said: “With our recent investments in the Future of Work Institute initiative and our managed solutions division Covalen, we believe that CPL is well-positioned to deepen our client relationship further, both domestically and internationally.”

Niall Quinn appointed interim deputy FAI chief executive

The Football Association of Ireland has appointed Niall Quinn as interim deputy chief executive. The embattled organisation said the former Manchester City, Sunderland and Arsenal striker would “focus on leading a future League of Ireland strategy, the overall development of the game in Ireland, including supporting grassroots and community initiatives together with our player pathway programmes”. Quinn has backed a plan to separate the governance of elite and grassroots football, Aaron Rogan reported last month.

Christine Lagarde and ECB governing council members after yesterday’s meeting Picture: Daniel Roland/AFP via Getty Images

Inflation review will be wide-ranging, Lagarde indicates

Christine Lagarde signalled that all options are on the table for the European Central Bank’s approach to reviving inflation as she launched the first reappraisal of its monetary policy since 2003. “We are going to review a whole host of issues,” the ECB president said after its governing council meeting. The exercise will encompass “how we deliver, how we measure, what tools we have and how we communicate.” The conclusions will be delivered by the end of the year, she said. Euro zone inflation is well below its target of just under 2 per cent. The governing council also decided to keep the deposit rate unchanged at -0.5 per cent and the pace of monthly bond buying at €20 billion.

Five Chinese cities in lockdown over coronavirus

Chinese authorities have imposed lockdown measures on five cities in an attempt to stem the coronavirus outbreak that has killed at least 17 people and infected more than 630. Transport links from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, were suspended yesterday, and similar measures followed in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou. Travel restrictions were also placed on the smaller cities of Chibi and Zhijiang. There are concerns that the flu-like infection might spread rapidly as hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel at home and abroad during the new-year holiday.

Aldi is to pay its staff the living wage

The Last Word: Tax fairness, Aldi and Asos

Ian Guider, our markets editor, joined Matt Cooper, our columnist, on The Last Word on Today FM yesterday to discuss the big business stories of the day including Economic and Social Research Institute research indicating that Ireland’s tax system does more to reduce household income inequality than any other in Europe, Aldi agreeing to pay its staff a living wage and sales at Asos topping £1 billion. Listen back here.

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